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« Frank, Fred, and Elvis | Main | Seven Splendid Anthologies [by David Lehman] »

February 27, 2022


Terrific memory poem. What great people, time, place to have lived. Thank you.

This poem opens the heart once more to a sense of what life should be, filled with music, love and hope. Makes me glad once more for years among the poets of Washington, D.C.

I've loved Myra's poetry since I was born to it, and now with Sterling Brown who I loved as well--it doesn't get much better than this. Wonderful the way the poem crosses time and place but remains in the present.

The voice and cadence are so real and so true. This poem quietly and magically gets the feel of it -- the passion for music that fills us up, the great haunts of the past, the legends of jazz, the smoky clubs, smitten youth. Thank you.

I love all the names in this song of Myra Sklarew's--they make a music in themselves,
a great run of sounds in the names alone, and in the notes that each specific, vivid scene triggers.

What a joy to come across this extraordinary poem by Myra Sklarew. It's marvelous in its form -- open to a brief Ma Rainy performance, to fascinating autobiographical glimpses, and that roll call of great jazz musicians the brilliantly strategic young Myra managed to experience, live and in their element. Brava!

Wonderful poem!

What memories this evokes! In the early 90s, when I lived on 104th Street and West End Avenue, Birdland was on 105th Street and Broadway so I could go there for the jazz-- or just to meet someone for a drink. I remember the night in February 1993 when NYC was hit by a major blizzard, and I went to Birdland for solace, a bite to eat, and music. Again on the day Billy Eckstine died (March 8, 1993) I was there. Rhythm in a riff!

For me, this wonderfully evocative poem brings me to Baltimore's late and very much lamented Famous Ballroom, where, every Sunday for many years, the huge cavern opened to hundreds of round dining tables peopled with jazz fans--everybody shared the picnics they brought--and listened to literally ALL the people and their "big bands" mentioned in the poem. I'm very lucky to be so old! And to recall Myra from her JHU years. Thanks, everybody. Every single soul.

By the way, the menu evokes how incredibly low Famous Ballroom Sundays admission was. Four bucks.

I love this poem 🎶

Ah the music! Words playing to the ear.


To call out
like a bird
location in space and time

Fly by it

Thank you!

Myra, Myra, Myra, pure birdsong and beautiful. Thank you.

Thank you, Myra & Terence, for this poem with all those people, places, and sounds wrapped up inside.

Beautiful melodic words taking us on the train to Birdland and Sterling Brown’s apartment, where jazz and poetry meet!

Diane: Thanks for the comment.

It was good to read of the great stars in Birdland and Sterling Brown in Brookland, my neighbor when I lived in that area. My thanks to Myra and Terence.

Wonderful poem. Brings back many memories of my first nights coming to NYC and being introduced to jazz popping out of tiny local east side bars. Thank you.

What an arresting way, Myra, you savor and share through a poem such a unique fabulous secret youthful past--sneaking among the who’s, where’s and when’s at the very heart of New York jazz. So close, so young, so bold.

How great to hear this poem! All hail Myra!

My kind thanks to Terence and to all for your words in this sad time. We don't seem to be able to bring what should never have been started to an end.

I'm so sorry to have been late getting to know this poem -- by the person who pulled me toward poetry as much as anyone. (Not blaming Myra, of course.) Now I'm thinking of the surprises she's sprung on me over time--all good ones--and today, more surprises. Thank you.

What a joy to live through this poem, Myra! Good to read you again.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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